A Quebec City man running across Canada for diabetes awareness says he's deeply sorry for an incident last week in which he was arrested and charged with a weapons offence.
In a statement released through his publicist, Sebastien Sasseville said he apologizes to all of his supporters, partners, and members of the diabetes community who have been the heart and soul of his journey
Schreiber OPP arrested Sasseville and two of his companions after an incident Thursday on Highway 17.
Police said a man travelling with Sasseville called 911 to report the runner had been abducted by two men with guns — and that same man called back to say the abduction had been staged as a prank and the weapons were not real.
The fake abduction wasn't funny, police said, and they charged Sasseville and two other men with possession of a weapon for a dangerous purpose.
Emergency calls no joking matter
Sergeant Paul Michtics said two men appeared to abduct the runner at gunpoint and escape in a vehicle, but “it was just a bunch of guys playing a joke on the fella driving the escort vehicle.”
It’s a dangerous trick to play, Michtics said, since police don’t treat emergency calls as a joke.
“That puts our officers, the public travelling on the highway and the people involved in this prank all in a very, very dangerous situation.”
Sasseville called the incident a prank among good friends that went wrong — and said his poor judgment led to unintended consequences.
His goal is to raise awareness about diabetes and to inspire, educate and empower people living with it, according to his Outrun Diabetes web site.
Sasseville is also soliciting donations for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
He plans to arrive in Vancouver on Nov. 14 for World Diabetes Day, the web site says.
Sasseville's biography describes him as an endurance athlete and motivational speaker who has climbed Mt. Everest and completed several Ironman triathlons.
The major sponsors for his run include the pharmaceutical company Novo Nordisk and the insulin pump-maker Animas.
Sasseville's next Outrun Diabetes event is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at the Valhalla Inn.
He is scheduled to appear in a Schreiber court Oct. 9.
Full statement from Sasseville:
"Last Thursday afternoon I was part of a regretful incident, the result of a prank among good friends gone wrong. While the consequences were highly unintentional, they occurred as a result of my poor judgment. I am deeply sorry for putting my team and our mission in such a compromising position and for the situation it created for local authorities. As this is a pending matter, I am an unable to comment further on the details of what transpired but I would like to apologize to all of my supporters, partners, and members of the diabetes community who have been the heart and soul of this journey. This incident will not detract from the Outrun Diabetes mission and my goal to inspire, educate and empower the millions of Canadians living with diabetes."